IBM Enters Converged Infrastructure Fray With PureSystems


IBM on Wednesday unveiled PureSystems, a converged infrastructure architecture that combines the company's server, storage, networking, and management technologies into a single integrated platform.

Big Blue also said that over 125 different ISVs, including nearly all the leading software developers except arch rival Oracle, have introduced 150-plus applications that have been optimized to work with its PureSystems.

IBM has invested three years and $2 billion in developing PureSystems, expecting it to change IT in the same way the cell phone changed communications, said Mike Riegel, vice president of ISVs, developers, startups, and academic programs at IBM.

[Related: Data Center Decision: Converged Infrastructure Vs. Best-Of-Breed]

"When you get a cell phone, you don't think about how the camera is integrated into the motherboard, or how the motherboard is integrated with the power supply," Riegel said. "It just happens."

With PureSystems, IBM is wading into an intense competition aimed at determining which company owns the data center at a time when customers are looking to move ever-larger parts of their IT operations to the cloud.

Converged infrastructure is a way to integrate multiple IT technologies, such as servers, storage, networking equipment, virtualization, and/or software applications into a larger solution.

Converged infrastructures offer a number of advantages over best-of-breed solutions. For instance, they are either integrated by a single vendor or built according to a vendor's pre-designed templates, making them much easier to deploy than a solution that needs to be assembled from multiple vendors' products in the field. Converged infrastructure solutions also provide customers with "one throat to choke" for service, repairs, updates, and patches.

IBM's PureSystems is a rack system containing IBM Power-based or Intel x86-based blade servers. It also contains storage, networking, and choice of a Windows, Linux, or Unix operating system, Riegel said. The platform allows customers to configure thousands of virtual machines.

The PureSystems configurations are predicated on platform experience IBM has gained over thousands of customer engagements, Riegel said.

"We've built that experience into the configuration and management of PureSystems," he said. "So customers get a complete experience, and can achieve a level of skill and integration from IBM based on all the experience of our engineers."

Next: Building The Ecosystem, Dissing The Competition